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Historical linguistics. Language classification and change. Classification. Genetic Typological Areal. A very important discovery. Jones [1788] described Sanskrit:

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historical linguistics

Historical linguistics

Language classification and change

  • Genetic
  • Typological
  • Areal
a very important discovery
A very important discovery
  • Jones [1788] described Sanskrit:
    • Sanskrit has a wonderful structure; more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either, yet bearing to both of them a stronger affinity … than could possibly have been produced by accident.
language families
Language families
  • “Family trees”: linguists love trees!
  • The world has many (how many?) languages
  • They can be traced back to a small number of families
    • Which families do English and Chinese belong to?
  • The word “family” is used to describe different levels, so it is vague
    • The highest level node can also be referred to as the Proto-language, for example PIE
  • Words from the same root
    • Maternal and madreboth come from mater
    • (which 3 languages, please?)
  • Yule 184-187 show how linguists can rebuild PIE and other proto-languages
  • Read “Word Reconstruction” carefully
  • Understand the example
  • Do study question 3, including the reasons
change in grammar and vocabulary
Change in grammar and vocabulary
  • Read about Syntactic changes and Semantic changes
  • Try Research Task D
typological classification
Typological classification
  • SVO SOV…
    • 6 possible types
  • Pro-drop vs non-pro-drop
    • Can you remember this? What is Chinese?
  • Accusative (Japanese, Latin) vs ergative (Basque) (from wikipedia.org) (Japanese? German?)
areal linguistics
Areal linguistics
  • There is no genetic relationship between languages, but they still share features, and they are spoken in the same region
  • Balkan linguistic union
    • Albanian, Greek, Bulgarian and Romanian are all IE languages
    • However, they are not closely related
    • And yet they share certain grammatical features (case, tense etc.)
east asian sprachbund
East Asian sprachbund
  • Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai and others are probably unrelated genetically (like Chinese & English, also unrelated)
  • Various shared features
    • Tone
    • Classifiers
    • Monosyllabic morphemes
    • Topic-comment constructions
      • こちらは 田中さんです。
      • 你的衣服,怎么这么脏? (wiki again)
    • Politeness (changing in Chinese)
lexical borrowing
Lexical borrowing
  • Lots of languages borrow extensively from English
  • You can probably think of many words in Chinese… how about the other way round?
  • This is not really part of language classification though
  • Domain-specific borrowing
    • Legal / administrative vocab zh  vn
    • Cooking fr  en
    • Philosophy de  en
  • Calque
    • Skyscraper  gratte-ciel (fr), Wolkenkratzer (de), 摩天樓 (zh)
    • Brainwash, runway (can you say why?)
english chinese loans
English  Chinese loans
  • Phonologically similar
    • Easy to think of many examples
  • Calque/phonological hybrid
    • 冰淇淋
  • 蹦及
    • Cross-straits difference
  • 電子郵件, 伊媚兒, EMAIL
  • Taiwan Office English (why??)
    • 麻煩你把candidate的resume fax 給我, 我明天要interview他.
variation in language
Variation in language
  • What are
    • Accent?
    • Dialect?
    • Language?
  • Draw a tree
    • For English (me)
    • For Chinese (students)
  • Give some examples of lexical differences, from English and Chinese.
social factors in accent
Social factors in accent
  • Differences in accent
    • What are the 3 main reasons one accent differs from another?
      • Place; ____; ____.
  • Accent differences
    • Taiwan Mandarin vs standard Mandarin
    • English
  • Labov (1987) investigated “4th floor” pronunciation, in NYC
    • 3 department stores (Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s, and Klein’s)
    • “higher class” speakers pronounce the /r/
  • Trudgill (1974) in the UK
    • Found that “higher class” speakers do not pronounce the /r/
register describe the differences please
Register: describe the differences, please
  • Would you mind giving me your full attention please?
    • Shut up!
  • I am writing to inform you
    • Just wanted to let you know
  • That is truly marvelous
    • That really rocks (what does rock mean?)
  • t/v distinctions
  • This happens in a bilingual society
  • Each variety is used
    • With different people
    • In different situations
    • Or for different purposes
  • An easy example of this phenomenon, please?
  • Usually there is said to be an H. variety, and an L. variety. Can you guess what H. and L. mean?
  • Also Singapore; Philippines; England in the Middle Ages; many other examples
the sapir whorf hypothesis almost certainly incorrect but interesting anyway
The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis (almost certainly incorrect, but interesting anyway!
  • Sapir and Whorf, in the 1930s, said that language determines culture
    • Hopi (American Indian language) has a feature +/- animate
    • Hopi words for cloud and stone are animate
    • Whorf concluded that clouds and stones are animate in the Hopi world-view
  • Can you disprove the S-W hypothesis, using the knowledge you have of Spanish, French, Hungarian or German?
what was that all about
What was that all about?
  • Definition of language
  • Description of the different levels of language. Analyzing
    • Sounds
    • Words
    • Sentences
    • Meaning
and then
And then…
  • Language and the mind
    • How language is acquired
    • How things sometimes go wrong
  • Today’s introduction to historical linguistics and language in society
  • Thanks for coming!